An analysis on the Gorge

An analysis on the Gorge

Postby Hatari05 » May 8th, 2018, 1:01 am

I really wrestled with where I wanted to post this topic as The Gorge appears in every LK movie so it could've gone anywhere but I felt it really didn't fit in any individual movie forum so I ultimately decided to post it here instead, if one feels this isn't the correct place to post it and knows a better place than I would happily accept your suggestion as I want this analysis to be where it properly belongs. Now that we have introductions out of the way let us begin our in depth look at what may very well one of the most important locations Disney ever created.

In every movie the gorge is where the most significant events of the characters unravel it seems to lie at the heart of the pride lands and every encounter there brings about great change in all forms. Simba's grief and guilt for his father's demise, Kovu's own guilt in Nuka's death and his presumed betrayal, Zira's denial of her son's loss, Timon's loss of faith in his path. Scar's reign, Zira's War, the unity of the prides, and Timon's parenthood.

The Gorge brings about great tragedy and death but with each death it also brings about rebirth and even a possibility for redemption. As tragic as Mufasa's death was it was the step to Simba's maturity of breaking his pride, ego and self entitled attitude. Simba did die in that Gorge and he was reborn as someone else someone who while plagued by guilt had been humbled it's unlikely cub Simba would've had any respect for Timon and Pumba and would've looked down on them. Simba was full of himself not unlike his uncle. Cub Simba was someone Scar could've very easily controlled and by putting the guilt on him Scar humbled his nephew and destroyed any chance he had of controlling him.

Scar was successful in killing Simba metaphorically and it sealed his fate. While crossing the line Scar still had a chance at redemption with Simba. He sacrificed his brother for the throne and there a few shots suggesting that Scar is seriously contemplating his decision it's possible Scar was considering killing Simba when he approached him but hesitates. The gorge was a moment of no return for Scar yet he wasn't condemned yet there was still a chance of redemption Scar had, a chance he refused proceeding to blame Simba. There is a bit of an irony to this as Scar likely does at the time blame Simba for Mufasa's death as his birth made it necessary. Scar in his mind is likely not lying, but rather is in the same denial Simba is not wanting to take responsibility yet.

Simba and Scar in this moment are in very similar places and though Scar doesn't show it this is deeply shaking him and he is considering just what he is going to do with Simba since he likely didn't count on him surviving the stampede now he has to deal with him but will he? There is a great deal of hidden emotion on Scar's face as he approached Simba like he really didn't know what he was going to do.

Simba is obviously shaken as well believing his roar started the stampede and wanting comfort which Scar will not give. Scar saying what he does only confirms what Simba already believes that his father's is dead because of him. Simba's words what am I going to do are likely what Scar is thinking. Mufasa's death in the gorge changed everything and both Simba and Scar are both grappling with the repercussions but even in this tragedy there is a chance for redemption if Scar and Simba take it but neither do. Simba believes he doesn't deserve it and Scar won't accept he did anything wrong, so what might've been a chance to actually give Scar something to live for was rejected.

Scar tells Simba to run away and never return and Simba believing he killed his father succumbs to his guilt. Scar than rejects any chance of humanity by ordering the hyenas to kill him. He's been grappling with just what he is going to do and finally decides. Simba metaphorically died in the gorge and was reborn as someone completely different Scar had a chance at rebirth but ultimately rejected it and by refusing to accept responsibility and blaming Simba he destroyed his chance to control Simba insuring he would one day return and usurp him.

The story of the gorge will continue in the following post as the symbolism it represents will continue through the other characters story as will how they all form one full narrative for the gorge that ultimately decides the fate of the pride lands itself.
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Re: An analysis on the Gorge

Postby Elton John » May 8th, 2018, 1:23 am

I don’t think that simba would have automatically disrespected timon and pumbaa had his turning point as a character never happened. The only character he really disrespected before that was Zazu and even then there were brief moments of concern towards him, and not all his interactions towards zazu were disrespectful.

His interactions before that point included

-Nala, whom he seemed to view as his equal.
-Scar, who he seemed to show no disrespect towards.
-Sarabi, whom he was slighly annoyed at but he still adored her
-The Hyena Trio. He was too busy running away from scared out of his bloody mind to disrespect too much.

and of course

-Mufasa. He adored his father. Outside of disobeying him that one time he seemed to adore him the most.

But I think I understand what you are getting at.
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Re: An analysis on the Gorge

Postby Hatari05 » May 8th, 2018, 3:28 am

Elton John wrote:I don’t think that simba would have automatically disrespected timon and pumbaa had his turning point as a character never happened. The only character he really disrespected before that was Zazu and even then there were brief moments of concern towards him, and not all his interactions towards zazu were disrespectful.

His interactions before that point included

-Nala, whom he seemed to view as his equal.
-Scar, who he seemed to show no disrespect towards.
-Sarabi, whom he was slighly annoyed at but he still adored her
-The Hyena Trio. He was too busy running away from scared out of his bloody mind to disrespect too much.

and of course

-Mufasa. He adored his father. Outside of disobeying him that one time he seemed to adore him the most.

But I think I understand what you are getting at.


I didn't give Simba's part as much detail as Scar so I didn't really get the nature of Simba's transformation across that well and that's my fault, I will be more explicit with Simba in the next post.
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Re: An analysis on the Gorge

Postby Hatari05 » May 8th, 2018, 5:14 am

In our last post we partially explored the nature of the gorge's intro though it was mostly an exploration of how it effected Scar and what it meant to him. Here we will delve more into Simba and another character after all as we were later told Simba, Mufasa and Scar weren't the only ones there. The appearance of the stampede in 1 1/2 is debatable in it's placement even more so it's place in canon however as I said this would refer to the all 3 movies as such I will act as if Timon and Pumba's presence is canon for now.

In 1 1/2 Timon is in search of his true perfect home which he calls hakuna matata he has journeyed long and far and by this point he is starting to crack declaring whatever place he finds as his perfect home while ignoring pumba's suggestions. The Gorge is Timon's turning point at this point he is all but ready to give up and admit he'll never find Hakuna Matata when he and Pumba find themselves caught in the stampede as well. Timon is in a similar place to Simba at this point who had his pride hurt by the hyena encounter to the point that he doesn't even consider that Scar shouldn't know what his roar sounds like as that would mean Scar was in the elephant graveyard but the idea of his little incident being known and his roar insulted hurts Simba's pride to the point that he doesn't realize the implication of Scar's words. Like Simba Timon too has had his pride hurt as his efforts to find Hakuna Matata have failed again and again his sense of knowing what he does is being crushed and in the gorge Timon is put into the position that would lead him to his Hakuna Matata his true Hakuna Matata. It is almost fitting that both of them would be there considering they are in a sense what the other needs after the stampede is over.

While the gorge ends in absolute tragedy for Simba taking his pride and turning it on him by having his ego believe that his roar alone caused the stampede and got his father killed that people would actually blame him, resulting in Simba losing faith in himself and going into exile, Timon's encounter with the Stampede ends on a far more hopeful note as it helps lead him to his jungle home which is implied to be near the pride lands while a bit convenient it does make sense as Simba wouldn't of gotten far into the outlands as a cub. While Simba is broken by the stampede Timon's pride only increases from it as he found what he sought without consequence, he believes he has found Hakuna Matata yet much like Simba Timon is blinded by a lie and doesn't understand the real truth, the stampede in the gorge would indeed bring him his Hakuna Matata as it led them to each other. It is Timon who saves Simba's life after Simba seems all but ready to give up not unlike Timon was before the stampede. Simba has been destroyed by the stampede his own pride and ego has betrayed him, he lost his father, he exiled himself from home, he left his friend and his dreams of being King are dead in every conceivable way. He has no faith in himself his love has turned into self loathing and he is burdened with an immense guilt he can't handle...yet. While damaging long term Hakuna Matata was exactly what Simba needed right now otherwise his guilt would've crushed him. Timon's philosophy gave Simba a childhood that almost certainly would've died in the gorge without it.

Simba's arrival was also what Timon needed as being a parent is what taught Timon to actually care about people. It caused him to actually think about something beyond himself actually listen to something beyond himself. Just as Simba metaphorically died in the gorge Timon began his journey to rebirth in the gorge. Timon left his family behind for himself like Simba he went into exile but unlike Simba who did it out of guilt and fear Timon did it out of pride and selfishness. He is very much similar to the cub he would come to raise, yet not the one he would actually meet. It was Simba who forced Timon to think of others because now he was a father, and it was Timon who unknowingly gave Simba a sense of happiness that held his guilt at bay until he was ready to face it. After the stampede Timon was offered redemption with Simba and he took it this led to Timon rebuilding the foundations of family that he originally abandoned. The raising by Timon and Pumba proved to be rather vital to Simba's own growth.

Before the stampede Simba didn't seem to have any regard for any animal beyond lions he didn't understand the importance each one played. He didn't mistreat them or see them as unworthy but he also didn't consider their roles or regard them as much. In "Just can't wait to be King" Simba uses all the animals as props for his ego at no point in the song does Simba show them any regard. He is completely dismissive of Zazu both before it and during the morning report paying no heed to anything Zazu is saying. Simba intrudes on the hyenas territory with no regard for the fact that it's theirs. Simba doesn't seem to have regard for any animal that isn't a lion. He is confused by the idea that the antelope could have any role to the lions life since the lions ate them. Before the Stampede it was likely Simba never considered anything about Wildebeest yet it was these prey animals that nearly killed him and did kill his father. It's a massive eye opener to how the lions are just as vulnerable as any other animal and any one animal in the right conditions could kill them, their prey can kill them. This is something Simba likely never considered as he seemed to regard lions as the strongest and greatest which would explain why Simba only listened to lions.

His life with Timon and Pumba was a massive change and Simba in essence basically became a prey animal lived as a prey animal. The gorge and the stampede marked the beginning of Simba's understanding of non lion animals. He realized the full danger they could pose to even full grown lions while also seeing the good they could do with Timon and Pumba. Simba himself lived as the animals he didn't pay much regard to and was saved by one he would normally eat after nearly being killed by another he would normally eat. Simba's raising by Timon and Pumba were the moment he was beginning to understand just what his father was teaching him how every animal was important and had a role to play in the great circle of life that they all sustained each other and were one. The Gorge while indeed a truly tragic place brought salvation to Timon and Timon's saving of Simba would one day bring salvation to the pride lands. It was the point of origin for what became Timon's redemption even as it marked the point of no return for Scar and the end of everything Simba believed himself to be, just like it would be what would marks the beginning of the end for Timon's own lie of Hakuna Matata being his alone. Both of them were in the gorge when the stampede happened and it was this stampede that resulted in the path that led them to each other and Timon's Hakuna Matata a factor Timon himself doesn't realize about Simba until near the end of 1 1/2.

This was a mostly character one and didn't really relate to the pride lands it was also tweaked a bit to incorporate more details about Simba's rebirth after the stampede to better relate to Timon's own transformation. I offer my greatest thanks and gratitude to Elton John whose comment was what allowed me to realize my original lack of detail and build on it here, as it resulted in this one being expanded on. The next post will take us back to the pride lands and the consequences of the choice Scar made before heading into Simba's return.
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Re: An analysis on the Gorge

Postby SimbasGuard » May 27th, 2018, 1:12 am

Amazing article. I read things like this and I am amazed at how much there is of The Lion King that I do not even take into consideration. You (with an assist from Elton John) bring great detail and importance to story elements that I never picked up on. I am very impressed thus far.
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